Apocalypse Near: Analyzing the Narrative of Decline in Science Fiction
From studying Literature of the Future, there is a pattern to the narratives read so far. These stories have a scope which the author must abide and reside within. One of the scopes is the Creation/Apocalypse narrative, where time is generally linear and could possibly have an end much like the books in the Bible, Genesis and Revelations. There is the Evolutionary narrative, which popularly is backed up with more scientific principle, like the Parable of the Sower, and finally the Alternative Reality narrative, showing a world that could have been; an example being arguably perceived as Stone Lives. Victoria Webb in her essay “God is Change: An Analysis of Change and Progression in Narratives of the Future,” states that “evolutionary driven narratives asserts that while time is always moving forward, we may change in a way that progresses us, or in way that declines us.” This statement is correct in its assumption. The path, in which a story takes, may in fact progress or decline. When looking at the stories of Creation/Apocalypse in the Bible, The Parable of the Sower, The Time Machine and “Stone Lives,” it is clear that although these all have very different styles and scopes, they are all Narratives of Decline.
When thinking about narratives of the future, one may make the assumption that because it is within the Science Fiction genre, there is always an advancement of the human race, but that is not always the case. Many Future Narratives actually have the outer shallower perception of progress, but when truly analyzed, it could be argued that there is the underlining theme of decline. This is definitely true when concerning Octavia Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower. This post-apocalyptic story shows a world slowly falling further apart by the environment and condition people put themselves in. The world where the protagonist Lauren exists is one on the decline, where the society and world around her had fallen apart and continued to be decapitated.